When in doubt, do what the wiseguys do. It only takes a little legwork to find out which of our Week 1 NFL betting lines are getting sharp love. We’ll show you how to separate the football wheat from the football chaff.
Let’s take a moment to give thanks for the arrival of another NFL betting season. Whatever kind of bettor you are, it’s time to celebrate. Casual fans – the ones who’d rather play Angry Candy Birds than follow preseason games – finally get to open their wallets and bet on the NFL. And the bettors at the sharper end of the bell curve finally get to take a bite out of the squares. God bless us, everyone.
Wherever you happen to be on this curve, you can juice up your NFL betting profits by doing what the sharps do. You may or may not be able to throw down thousands of dollars on any one single game. You might not have your own office staff crunching all the numbers for you while you sit in your war room, in your chair of fine Corinthian leather. But you can still figure out which games the pros are betting on. And you can count on enough casual bettors making enough mistakes with their smaller bets to keep the market tilted in your favor.
Bird, Meet Worm
It’s a financial tale as old as time: The early aves get the polychaetes. Anytime a business opportunity arises, it’s the ones who get there first who usually end up profiting. That’s one of the beautiful things about betting on the NFL: The lines are released early in the week, but most casual fans don’t get around to making their picks until the weekend arrives. Yes, even in this day and age, there are people who work Monday to Friday. When they’re done, it’s time for a little football.
It’s always time for football when you’re a sharp bettor. These are the guys and gals who will pounce on the football lines the moment they’re released, looking for a sweet bargain or two. If you look at the “Lines History” section on our NFL odds board, you can see which games have been drawing early action – these will be the games where the lines have moved since the open. Early action is almost always sharp action.
You have to wake up especially early if you want to get the jump on the Week 1 NFL lines – most online sportsbooks released their odds in May. But that’s just given the sharps that much more time to pile on, and the line movement is even more obvious than usual as a result.
It’s a Shame about Ray, Part II
There are some other Week 1 games coming up that have been affected by more recent events, and the sharps, as always, have been the quickest to act. The St. Louis Rams look especially vulnerable after QB Sam Bradford (90.9 passer rating last year) was injured in Week 3 of the preseason. He’ll be out for the year with a torn ACL. Taking his place will be veteran Shaun Hill (85.9 career passer rating), who has built a reputation as a solid No. 2 QB, but who also hasn’t started a game since 2010. The Rams are 4-point home faves against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), down from –5 at the open.
Watch out as well for the San Francisco 49ers, who are once again having some trouble with the legal department. LB Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games, and DE Ray McDonald seems destined for a six-game ban after he was arrested and jailed early Sunday on domestic violence charges. The sharps were already pushing back on the Niners before the McDonald incident; last week, San Francisco was a –255 ML road fave against the Dallas Cowboys before moving to –240 on Friday, the day Smith was suspended. Get on the bandwagon while you can – kick-off is Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX.